CROWDSOURCING SUSTAINABILITY

World Economic Forum, Greta Thunberg, and Nobel Prize for climate action

by | January 25, 2019

 

Climate Change DOMINATES World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Risk Report

“Of all risks, it is in relation to the environment that the world is most clearly sleepwalking into catastrophe.”

The report features a survey that went to 1,000 business, governmental, and academic leaders. They scored the top 30 global risks in terms of “Impact” and “Likelihood”.

Looking at the next two charts, it’s quite clear that climate change needs to be the issue that humanity devotes most of its time and resources to.

Global Risk Outlook 2019

As you can see the green “Environmental” risks are not only the most devastating risks to business and society in terms of “Impact”, but they are also head and shoulders above the other risks when measured by “Likelihood”. In the chart below you can see this more clearly as both measures are plotted together.

The top right section shows you the global risks with the highest impact AND highest likelihood.

Global Risk chart


Climate change has its fingerprints on nearly everything in that top right quadrant of the most pressing global risks. Even though they’re not in the green “Environmental” category, the risk of
 “Water crises”, “Large-scale involuntary migration”, and “Interstate conflict” are all increased by climate change. In fact, you could easily argue that climate change exacerbates almost all of the 30 risks identified.

Climate change is the issue that keeps on giving – making everything else way, way worse. This is exactly why the US Department of Defense has been calling climate change a “threat multiplier” for years.

Now, I’m considering this as the “alarming” section because it is scary just how dangerous and all-encompassing the effects of climate change are. But, to be honest with you, the fact that the World Economic Forum put this out there in the first place, right before their global summit in Davos, Switzerland is actually good news. World leaders are increasingly seeing (and being told) that this needs to be their #1 priority. We still don’t have anywhere close to enough action, but the realization of the severity and urgency is growing every day, as is the pressure to act.

The more often we hammer home just how big of an issue this is and the more often we connect the dots between climate change and human well-being, the more people will see this as a clear emergency that will affect them personally. When this happens, the rate of change towards a cleaner, safer future will increase dramatically.

 

Young activist Greta Thunberg continues to courageously speak truth to power

As I mentioned above, the World Economic Forum is holding its annual meeting in the Swiss Alps this week on the heels of its Global Risk Report. Despite being an independent organization that says it’s “committed to improving the state of the world”, it has faced criticism for being an “annual gathering of the rich and powerful” that helps to perpetuate the status quo. Thousands of business leaders, politicians, and influencers fly in to talk about global issues.

There are some strong voices for climate action such as Al Gore, Sir David Attenborough, Jacinda Ardern, and António Guterres which is encouraging. The severity of climate change has been discussed several times.

But one clip I saw really struck me. Sixteen year old Greta Thunberg is at it again, speaking truth to power – check it out!

…the audience may have reacted with an awkward silence and reluctant applause (started by Bono)…but you know the rest of the world is like:

“OHHH SNAP. She went there! She did it again – right to their face!”

Greta put the failed response to climate change over the last 30+ years on the shoulders of the global elite, right where it belongs when she said:

“Some people, some companies, some decision makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.

She called out the people right there in that room – some of the most powerful people in the world – for putting profit and personal power over the health and safety of billions of people around the world like you and me.

Thank goodness more and more people are finally stepping up everywhere like this courageous 16-year-old girl who is telling it like it is and demanding action from those with the most power. Enough is enough!

 

Quote of the day

We have a lot to learn from past leaders of monumental movements. Here are a couple of quotes in honor of the great Martin Luther King Jr:

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Shouldn’t there be a Nobel Prize for action on climate change?

After all, in his will, Alfred Nobel specified that the prizes were to be awarded to those who “during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.” Knowing what we do today, it seems abundantly clear that the greatest benefit to humankind is the work being done to prevent the collapse of our civilization itself, while simultaneously improving the quality of life – not only for people living today but for all of humankind thereafter.

This is what Hélène Costa de Beauregard thinks anyway. So she and her husband Raoul decided to try and make it happen.

It all started when the IPCC report came out last October. Hélène was shocked. She broke down.

The report showed more dire consequences and a shorter timeline than previously thought. Keeping temperatures below 2°C would require a 3x increase in current efforts, while limiting to the much safer 1.5°C requires increasing efforts by 5x (Emissions Gap Report).

What kind of a world would her 4-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son be growing up in?

Ten years ago she assumed this would be an issue for her children’s children. But now she knows, looking into the eyes of her babies, that they, through no fault of their own, will live the majority of their lives in a much different, scarier world – that is, unless drastic actions are taken immediately.

This led to Hélène and Raoul discussing what more they could do to help. Fortunately, the Nobel Prizes were awarded the same week the IPCC report was released. The two decided there needed to be a Nobel Prize for climate action. If alive today, there’s no doubt that Alfred Nobel would agree, for the greatest benefit to humankind today is to help save it from itself.

So that very weekend, they started a petition. They’re working on it as much as they can with the help of a few students on social media campaigns. They hope to get backing from the public, have 1 million people sign the petition, and convince the Nobel Prize administrators that creating a climate Nobel is exactly what Alfred would want to be done given that climate change is the defining issue of our time.

Having a Climate Nobel would be hugely symbolic and really help to solidify the importance and extreme urgency of climate action. It would send a strong signal as to what the world’s priorities need to be.

Hélène acknowledges that someone’s job isn’t done after signing a petition like this, but believes each person’s small action could ultimately help bring about something highly influential. Every little bit helps. Plus, the more awareness about climate change, the better.

Given a billboard for millions to see, Hélène would write, “If we do not act for the future of our kids, who will?”

If you want to help out the cause, you can sign the Climate Nobel petition here!

 

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, comments, or ideas for the newsletter or community!

 

This post originally featured in the Crowdsourcing Sustainability newsletter.

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